April 29, 2009

The Best Musicians Don't Always Have CD's

This video blew me away. It started with a street musician, a laptop, and a few microphones...and then it went around the world. The producers found street musicians and had them play over top of the original track.

Playing For Change | Song Around The World "Stand By Me" from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

What do you think?

April 28, 2009

You Can't Control What People Are Saying

We live in very different times. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook...has changed everything. Now, everything you write or post or tweet will likely be seen by your potential (or current) employer, your fiance's parents, your pastor...everyone!

Seth Godin also points to the dangers of what gets online. He states, "Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you're on Candid Camera, because you are."

In the past, if there was a disagreement between people they would argue, fuss, and maybe fight.

If they were literary or academic types they would take their battle to the typeset page. Fights of this nature were decided by who had the biggest audience. The larger companies could hide the bad stuff because they had more money, more power, and more influence. The person holding the megaphone was the one who got to make the rules.

Things have changed.

Now, one simple blog post...one small e-mail...one idle threat...can make the rounds on the internet.

Leo Babauta writes a great blog called Zen Habits. Last week he wrote a post about overcoming fear titled, A Guide to Beating the Fears that Are Holding You Back. In the article he used the phrase "feel the fear and do it anyway." This week he received a letter from Susan Jeffer's lawyers saying that the phrase is trademarked by Susan...and requesting some changes. Leo was obviously irate at the thought that the English language, especially a phrase that was in use long before her book and in a situation where his use had nothing to do with her book, could be trademarked. He wrote a response here.

This post has little to do with the disagreement between these two...I want to focus on the response. Check out the Amazon Reviews for her book now that her lawyers have played the heavy hand. The backlash is astounding to me. Within hours...her reviews have been filled with a negative backlash. I am sure she thought he would cower to the threat of litigation or comply with the demands. She probably never imagined this amount of backlash...and it certainly is hard to recover from something like this because Google never forgets.

Gone are the days when people, organizations, and even churches can play the heavy hand and not get exposed and hide their bad behavior. Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook have changed who is holding the megaphone.

What do you think?

image compliments of Nati

April 24, 2009

The System and Rehabilitation

Criminals deserve to spend time behind bars for the crimes they commit. But I guess the question that needs to be asked is, "How long after they are out do they have to suffer for their crimes?" I can understand convicted money launderers not being allowed to work at a bank...child molesters at daycare centers...murders at gun shops...but when is their scarlet letter allowed to be put behind them.

The point of the prison system is supposed to be rehabilitation and punishment for a crime. Unfortunately that doesn't happen on a regular basis. The convicted person is released when their time is served, and, for whatever reasons, they often return to a life of crime.

What happens when a person really is rehabilitated? When they are so transformed by the Gospel of Christ that you can't believe the stories they are telling you about their past life. The system doesn't know what to do with them so they stick to their rules and policies.

I don't think there are any easy answers for this, but I do think there ought to be answers.

April 23, 2009

Props to A Friend

My friend Andy is planting a church in Toledo called Emmaus Road. He and I worked together as editors at a publishing house in Kansas City, and I like what he has to add to the conversation about being the church in the community...because I saw him live it out when we were in Kansas City. Check out his blog at The Ordinary Saint.

I was surprised to see his name come up on Mark Batterson's blog...what a small world.

April 17, 2009

Believer Converts to Atheism and Comes Back Again

In the past I have struggled to hold on to my faith. There was a very dark period of my life where I cried out to God for answers and silence was all that answered. While I know now that God was working behind the scenes...I didn't then. But in the midst of that struggle I came to the conclusion that I had tried everything else and found it wanting...there was no where left to go.

A.N. Wilson, biographer of CS Lewis, left Christianity and became a "born again" atheist. His return has been slow but, I think, has given him a stronger, more real faith. Check out the article here.
By nature a doubting Thomas, I should have distrusted the symptoms when I underwent a 'conversion experience' 20 years ago. Something was happening which was out of character – the inner glow of complete certainty, the heady sense of being at one with the great tide of fellow non-believers. For my conversion experience was to atheism...My departure from the Faith was like a conversion on the road to Damascus. My return was slow, hesitant, doubting. So it will always be; but I know I shall never make the same mistake again."
What do you think? Have you ever struggled to maintain your faith? What kept you (or brought you back)? How do you think God handles people who are genuinely asking and seeking for Truth and leave the "christian" fold for awhile?

Thanks to Bob Hyatt for the original lead on AN Wilson's story.

April 16, 2009

My Guilty Pleasure

I have to admit that my new guilty pleasure is a blog known as Fail Blog. It is a combination of video, pictures, and other stuff found on the internet.

Here is one of my favorites:

April 13, 2009

The Triumph of the Gospel

"The real triumphs of the gospel have not been won when the church is strong in a worldly sense; they have been won when the church is faithful in the midst of weakness, contempt, and rejection....it has been in situations where faithfulness to the gospel has placed the church in a position of total weakness and rejection that the advocate has himself risen up and, often through the words and deeds of very 'insignificant' people, spoke the word that confronted and shamed the wisdom and power of the world."

Lesslie Newbigin, The Open Secret

April 7, 2009

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman Coming Soon!

Recently I joined an online book program that asks for reviews of books that we may or may not like. My task is to read the book, and then post an honest review of the work. My review of ReJesus by Frost and Hirsch was the first one.

I just got my order form for the next round of books, and I will be reviewing Bart Ehrman's book Jesus, Interrupted (the review is now available). Ehrman is a New Testament scholar and textual critic (evaluating and comparing ancient copies of manuscripts). He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having once been a conservative, evangelical Christian (graduated from Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton), Ehrman became an agnostic in his search for truth. Ehrman theorizes that much of the biblical text has been tampered with by those with agendas.

Jesus, Interrupted argues:
  • Only 8 of the 27 books of the New Testament were actually written by the authors to whom they’re attributed. Others are likely forgeries.
  • The gospels provide remarkably divergent portrayals of Jesus. As an example, the crucifixion story varies greatly between the gospels of Mark and Luke. Mark’s account depicts a suffering Jesus crying out “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” as he dies. Luke, however, portrays a calm Jesus who simply says “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
  • The message of the Apostle Paul and the message of gospel writer Matthew are completely at odds over the question of whether a follower of Jesus also had to observe the Jewish law.
  • The Nicene Creed and the Trinity were constructs of the later church and are not found in the Bible.
  • Traditional doctrines such as the suffering Messiah, the divinity of Christ, and the notion of heaven and hell are not based on the teachings of the historical Jesus.
I am not sure what to expect. I want to give this book a fair reading and try to see his point of view before disagreeing with it. I would venture to believe that there are some valuable things in the work...I want to gain those and ditch the rest.

If you want to take a peak inside the book you can check it out here.

Here is a video introduction of his new book:

Ben Witherington III gives a great review of Ehrman's book Misquoting Jesus.

If you want to see Ehrman and Stephen Colbert click here.

April 4, 2009

Heavy Metal Monk

It seems I am on a video...blogging...sort of thing. I promise to get back to some real writing, but couldn't resist this tidbit about a heavy metal monk. I do find it a bit humorous as well.

April 1, 2009

What Does It All Mean?

Check out this video:

This video prompted some thinking...

We are living at a pivotal time in our world. Things are changing rapidly. Technology is developing. The world economy is suffering. Consumerism is bankrupting us. People are changing. The world is becoming less influenced by the Christian faith.

How do you think this affects the way we reach out to our world in Jesus' name?

How should this affect the work of the church in our world?

How does this affect us as Christians? Our spiritual practices? Our lifestyle?